ARMED Forces Day in Skipton this year was 'appalling' and should in future be a stand alone event, said the town's deputy mayor.

The event took place on June 26, the same day as Sheep Day, a family event which involves the closure of the High Street, attracting thousands of people.

It came at the end of Armed Forces Week, a national annual celebration of the country’s serving officers, cadets, veterans and reservists, and included the lowering of the armed forces flag, which this year was raised over Holy Trinity Church instead of the town hall, because of ongoing work to the building's facade.

It is organised by Craven District Council, and was attended this year by vice chair, Cllr Chris Rose; whereas Sheep Day is a town council event.

Deputy mayor, Cllr Sheila Bentley told a town council meeting that veterans had been left very unhappy.

It was wrong to coincide the event with Sheep Day and funding should be secured so it could have its own day, she told the events and tourism committee meeting.

"So many veterans dislike it being Armed Forces Day on Sheep Day. I thought it was appalling," she said, adding that she thought more work, including applying for funding, needed to be put into it to make it more special.

Hannah Corrigan, the council's tourism and events manager, said there were two 'massively' conflicting opinions.

"Sheep day gets the footfall and if the forces want to do recruitment stands there is the natural footfall; in the past when Armed Forces Day has been a stand alone event it has not got the turnout," she said.

Ms Corrigan told the meeting Armed Forces Day was not currently a town council organised event, but that might change next year, when Craven District Council ceased to exist and was replaced with the new unitary North Yorkshire Council, leading to the possible passing down of some responsibilities to smaller councils.

"We don't know yet whether we will be given that event next year, whether it will become our responsibility, or whether someone from Craven District will do it. I would not like to say we will organise a massive event, because I might be stepping on someone's toes, " she said.

Cllr Bentley said people became veterans after serving just one day in the armed forces and she believed not enough was being done for them.

She welcomed plans to stage a freedom of an armed forces freedom of the district parade sometime next year - the last one took place 12 years ago and saw tanks being driven through the town, and urged the council to consider applying for funding.

Cllr Winston Feather, committee chair, said he sympathised and it was important that the armed forces be recognised, especially because of what was currently going on in the world, but he wondered if it was feasible for Armed Forces Day to be held on its own in Skipton, unlike in places like Bradford where there were more people.

In response, Sharon Hudson communications, customer services and partnerships manager, Craven District Council, said: “Every year we liaise with the Skipton branch of the British Legion, Holy Trinity Church and Skipton Town Council to recognise Armed Forces Day.

"One of the main objectives of Armed Forces day is to raise awareness and commemorate the contribution and service of men and women in the British Armed Forces. A few years ago Armed Forces day clashed with Sheep Day. "Skipton Town Council were very accommodating and worked with us to incorporate the two. We found that because of the high numbers of visitors to Skipton High St on Sheep Day many more people were in attendance for the lowering of the Armed Forces flag.

"This was seen to be very positive in terms of awareness raising compared to previous years and something members of the British Legion were keen to continue. We were very grateful to Holy Trinity stepping in this year to fly the Armed Forces flag for the week and host the flag raising and lowering ceremonies due to the improvement works taking place on the Skipton Town Hall frontage. Unfortunately this was a one off unavoidable instance but we did promote the relocation of the flag lowering ceremony in advance.”